FG To Ban Aviation Workers’ Strikes

Murtala Muhammed Airport

The Federal Government has vowed to enforce the section of the Civil Aviation Act (2022), disallowing employees from embarking on flight-crippling strikes in the future.

This was on Wednesday, after the FG apologised to air travellers over the industrial action of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, which halted inbound and outbound flight operations on Monday.

While adressing the State House Correspondents after exiting the Council Chambers, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said: “First, we apologise to our teeming passengers in this difficult moment. There are other ways of channeling issues when they arise but they are not permitted to go on strike because aviation is an essential service.”

On Monday, local and international flights were disrupted for several hours as workers under the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company declared a warning strike over poor pay.

The aggrieved employees had earlier issued a five-day strike notice to the NAHCO management. They requested, among other things, 100 per cent increment in pay following the general upward review of ground handling changes in the sector. the NAHCO management had approached the court to prevent the looming industrial action. Nonetheless, the workers withdrew their services by 12:00 am Monday, leaving hundreds of air travellers and airlines in limbo. At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, all foreign airlines on the morning schedule were affected.

According to Sirika, the piece of legislation prohibits industrial action and riots of such scale in the aviation sector.

“This is very important to the travelling public. First, we apologise to them; our teeming passengers in this difficult moment.

“Second, this will not happen in the future by the grace of God. And the reason is simple; aviation is an essential service. The Act has been assented to by Mr. President, so strikes and riots around our airports are prohibited by the laws of the land.

“Now that we have the Act in place and assented to by Mr President and passed by the National Assembly, we will deal with it according to the law,” he said.

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